CUTTING-EDGE BAR SALUTES THE GREATS
There’s no better way to start a new year than kicking off the season with a new cocktail menu from 1886—the most daring and innovative bar in town. This new winter cocktail menu is inspired by inventors, innovators and legendary pioneers, which is appropriate considering the mad scientist kids at 1886 are the most innovative mixologists in the L.A. bar scene.
“We never do the same theme twice,” says Head Barman Peter Lloyd-Jones talking about the approach the bar staff takes when creating a new menu. “We definitely want to build on the brand by honoring those before us and keeping the torch lit. We keep everything in line by staying true to the ethics and systems we have created here at 1886.”
This new winter menu features 14 inspired cocktails, including three toddy drinks perfect for a cold night. The libations run the gamut from boozy and stiff to spicy to sweet and delicious to hot and comforting. But as always, “balance” is the key word with any drink that’s ever on an 1886 drink menu.
I think my favorite of the stiff drinks on the winter menu is Jesus Gomez’s salute to Alan Turing, the scientist and father of the modern computer who led the wartime code breaking operation in WWII Britain. Jesus’ Enigma is a gin Martini variation made with guava tea-infused Plymouth gin, Dolin dry vermouth, Yellow Chartreuse, Burlesque bitters and Star Anise garnish. It’s boozy and ginny and not to be trifled with. I loved it!
Of the sweeter drinks, The Golden Ticket aptly lives up to its name. From barman Ned Kirby and pastry chef Raymond Morales, this cocktail is a nod to Willy Wonka and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Made with Evan Williams peanut-infused bourbon, Marie Brizzard Brown Cacao liqueur, Cynar and a golden ticket garnish (for reals) this one is sweet but in a good way. It’s kind of wonderful and goes down super easy. While bartenders in this town know that I don’t like saccharine drinks, it’s no secret that I love a good liquid dessert and this one just works on so many levels.
Another good “desserty” drink is the Espress Yoself by Adam Vaugh and Raymond Morales (the apt pastry chef has a hand in many of the winter cocktails). An espresso martini variation named for Angelo Moriondo, the creator of the espresso coffee machine, the drink is made with vodka, Cynar, Marie Brizzard Brown Cacao liqueur, espresso, cream, and a chocolate cookie garnish. This one also works as liquid dessert.
The dynamic duo of Vaugh and Morales also kick ass on the Blackwell, which pays tribute to Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate from an American medical school in 1849. Made with Fennel-infused Rittenhouse 100 proof rye, honey, ginger, lemon juice, turmeric, and a brown-sugar brûléed Serrano pepper this drink is slightly spicy and so good. Likewise, barman’s Luis Nava’s Helen of Troy, named after the woman whose face launched a thousand ships, is a wonderful mix of Pisco Portón, Velvet Falernum liqueur, mixed berry shrub, lemon juice, and black sugar garnish resulting in a pleasing drink that’s sweet yet subtle.
Head barman Peter Lloyd Jones makes his presence felt on the winter menu with his cool cocktails, including his Burning Bridge—a Boulevardier interpretation with Elijah Craig bourbon, Campari, Jammy vermouth and a scorched maple coaster. With this drink, Pete uses a new technique called Accelerated Esterification, where a combined cocktail is exposed to partially charred wood and other ingredients inside a vacuum. Props for Pete’s innovation as this drink is a great Campari-forward concoction.
Another Lloyd Jones winner is the Moped, where Pete teams up with 1886’s Monique and Ned Kirby. An Old Fashioned variation, the Moped is named after its three creators and pays tribute to the classic mode of transportation used around the world by mixing Woodford Reserve bourbon, Benedictine, Yellow Chartreuse, pecan bitters, and a rosemary sprig garnish. It’s sweet yet balanced, delicious and will definitely get you going.
Pete and pastry chef Raymond Morales team up with the Burbank Flip, a Flip variant dedicated to American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science, Luther Burbank, marrying Camus VS cognac, Rittenhouse 100 proof rye, Cynar, Allspice Dram liqueur, Demerara, whole egg, and a croissant chip garnish. It’s boozy, stiff and so solid. And the chip garnish is a really nice touch.
Another fave on the menu once again belongs to Jesus Gomez and his That Caribbean Funk, which pays tribute to Tiki icon "Don the Beachcomber". This tropical gem is made with Hamilton Black Rum, Wray and Nephew Jamaican Rum, Lillet Blanc vermouth, Giffard banana liqueur, pecan bitters, and a banana chip garnish. Jesus loves Tiki and this one is a crowd pleaser.
A great cocktail innovator and inventor is 1886 found Marcos Tello—a man responsible for some of the best cocktails in town. Saluting Christopher Wren, one of the fathers of the modern-day syringe, Marcos’ Wren's Remedy is a Negroni variation with Beet-infused El Silencio Espadin, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, and Campari. Served with the best presentation among the winter drinks, this winning cocktail comes in a syringe and is poured out in front of you. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered—a smoky beety taste for what ails you.
When the best and most innovating bar staff in town salutes legendary innovators, you know the results have to be impressive. In this case, 1886’s wonderful winter cocktail menu makes for a satisfying and sensational batch of drinks that are second to none.
1886 is located at The Raymond 1886 at 1250 South Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena. Call 626-441-3136.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography By: Acuna-Hansen